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Tell It Like It Is

The real one percent

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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or

April 23, 2012 | 1,710 views | 1 comment

Harlingen, Texas, March 3, 2011: The malcontents, riffraff, and anarchists who make up the “Occupy” movement remain busy attacking those they call the “One Percent,” or the 3 million Americans who provide most of the funding that runs the great American engine. It might be more fitting for the same body of individuals to take a few moments out of lives which are, for the most part, self-serving, and think about the real 1 percent of Americans who have always “paid it forward” for their country.

It should be obvious we are referring to the armed forces of the United States of America, known to many as members of the Warrior Clan. They are made up of slightly more than 1 million men and women now on active duty and the approximately 2 million who are standing ready to serve again on the military retired roles of the nation. It is only be-cause of this small 1 percent of Americans that others in our country can protest against what they perceive as everything wrong in America.

This is the 1 percent that gave of their lives, their blood, their bodies, and their youth so almost half of the citizens in the country can pay no income tax. They fought, thus allowing others to demand greater union benefits, higher paying jobs, nicer automobiles, quality welfare care, increased government-funded medical support, extended unemployment benefits, subsidized housing and mortgages, and a liberal-leaning educational system.

The real 1 percent didn’t spend nights in various forms of debauchery or destroying the property of other citizens. Instead they spent their time marked by years away from those they loved, attempting to sleep in mud, sand, and bug-infested conditions, or staring into the darkness waiting for a faceless enemy to strike. They endured freezing cold, jungle swelter, and mind-burning temperatures for weeks and months on end.

Perhaps the “Occupy” group would like to know how it historically came to be that they are free to spend their days and nights making slums of various neighborhoods around the country. It is possible because 625,000 of this proud One Percent died for us during the Civil War. Another 116,000 gave up their final breaths for us in World War I. 405,000 of the One Percent making up the Warrior Clan died during World War II to protect the freedoms we all enjoy.

Another 58,151 sacrificed themselves for you, the “Occupiers,” and me during the Korean conflict. At this moment, in what the politicians call “The War on Terror,” another 6,300 Americans have given of their lives in combat, and we are still counting. If we could ever get an honest number out of the government, we would find somewhere in the range of 45,000 more military personnel have been wounded in action during this more than 10 years of conflict.

People might be interested in knowing that half of those in uniform have now served more than one year in combat. More than 30 percent have been in either Iraq or Afghanistan for longer than two years. This leaves nearly 20 percent of our Warriors who have served their nation three, four, and even five years in combat. For those who would like to compare, that is more time under direct threat of death than the total length of the Civil War or World War II.

With that bit of history, let’s take a quick look at how our “ungrateful nation” rewards these gallant brothers and sisters. The Obama administration thinks they are overpaid and have far too many benefits. He thinks they should pay for part of their medical care, even though politicians sending them into combat brought about most of their medical requirements. The president thinks he can save a lot of money and benefit more of his needy constituency by removing hazardous duty pay. His new budget makes major cuts in military expenditures, including health care for active duty and retired personnel.

Where a monthly stipend while serving in a combat zone has been the law of the land for decades, the Obama administration believes that is far too generous for the troops. He would have them receive a daily sum of money totaling $7.50, but it would only be paid for those days when the enemy was actually shooting directly at our servicemen and women.

This administration also wants to force our military into his nationalized “Obamacare” program by more than tripling the fees military personnel, retired personnel, and their dependents will be required to pay for services.

For some, this can mean an additional medical cost of more than $2,500 a year. Added to these drastic demands is the $500 billion taken from Medicare to pay for his new medical entitlement programs. Because senior retirees past age 65 have been moved into Medicare, the cuts also impact them.

At the same time, none of these changes will be passed on to anyone receiving health care under the President Obama Union favoritism program. All union employees are exempt.

By the way, Mr. President, unions are not very high on the people’s favorite organizations fan list. The military for the Real One Percent ranks right at the top. You might remember that come Election Day.

Thomas D. Segel is a twice-wounded U.S. Marine Corps combat correspondent who retired after 26 years of service. He blogs at
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Elaine K.  
April 23, 2012 2:10pm
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